Can you for once stop talking about a product and how good it is?
Businesses use the term solution when what they really mean is a packaging of a product or service and not a solution at all. Today, I’m going to show you how to build solutions that customers can’t resist.
Start with the customer
Of course, we’re going to start by talking about the customer. Think about this, a vendor creates a product or service and they love it, they take it to market and they get a bit of traction with that product or service so they love it even more and they evolve it. It seems kind of logical but flip that on its head and get in the mind of the customer or the shoes of the customer for a moment, think about what they do.
Some kind of issue emerges in their business. Then they start to think about what they need to fix that problem so they look at solutions and they use those solutions to inform their more clearly defined need, then they look at solutions again. See the gap? We build our products and services and we hope like crazy they meet some need in the market. Is that really the best we can do? We need to actually start with the buyer and not end with the buyer. What is it that the buyer needs and start with that rather than the product or service that we want to sell.
And we need to play a stronger role in helping the customers work out what is that they at all. Leaving that to the customers is leaving it to chance. You need to know what your buyers need before you can build a solution and before the need there’s actually a problem.
Step one: Identify your customer’s problem
Four steps. Firstly, we need to understand really clearly what problem we’re trying to solve, what problem do they have that you want to be the best in the world at solving – that’s step one.
Step two: Identify what they would need to solve that problem
Step two, work out what it is that any logical business buyer in your target market would need to solve that problem, but also look for some bias there, we’re not charity we’re actually trying to advantage our cause so what concept of that need, what interpretation of that need, what understanding of that need, what little insight about that need actually advantages your cause, so yes they’ve got that problem. They could conclude that they need this or they need that, one of those is yours. How could we create some bias in that process that’s around the need?
Step three: Identify what solution will solve that problem most fully
Step three identify the solution, little bits of detail on solution as well. We’re looking here for gaps, do we already fully meet that need? If we don’t then there’s a couple things that we can do. Firstly we can look for new solution elements, new characteristics, new things that we can do to more fully meet that need. Secondly we may need to partner, it might be that it’s not feasible for you to solve all of the problem and meet all of the need, perhaps you need to partner to more fully meet the need.
So number one was the problem, number two was the need, number three is your solution including gaps that either you can fill or maybe there’s an opportunity there or that you can partner around.
Step four: Provide your salespeople with collateral to support your buyers
Finally, four is collateral. If that journey through problem to need to solution is complex for you and I, imagine how complex it is for one of your salespeople in the field in the heat of battle, so step four is collateral. Build some kind of tools that you can give your sales people to help them help your customers through that journey from gap to need way before solution. We spend so much time on building great solution collateral and not enough time on building the collateral for the money shot that is from the gap to the need, that’s how we need to build our solutions.